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In the Mix

This module was a necessary experience for me. I've always realized on some level that remix is commonplace. You see it in fashion, in music and in art. But I guess I needed to be reminded that it has been around since day one and that a lot of good has come of it.

The readings and videos were helpful. I had no idea that Led Zeppelin was a huge remixer band. I enjoyed discussing part of my day to day experience with copyright laws vs. the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Libraries and publishers tend to put up barriers for people with disabilities to get digital access to their materials because of copyright issues. Yet the ADA states that we must provide this material to everyone in a form that they can access, namely digital so they can have software read it aloud, magnify it or change fonts or contrast. Its a continual dilemma.

The negative side of remixing wasn't presented as clearly in this module as I would have hoped. I see the current religions using older symbols and stories from ancient faiths. The current traditions of a Christmas tree, the Easter bunny and Santa Claus are just remixes of old pagan symbols for the changing of the seasons and the passage of time. I believe that knowing the actual origins of our own practices and belief systems allows us to understand our ancestors and to get a better perspective of what we honor now in comparison to what we have honored in our history.

I especially felt that original artists, especially musicians were downplayed in their importance in our culture. Composers who are quoted, mimicked and "remixed" continually have made a huge impact in our lives and culture. They need to be recognized as the geniuses that they to touch our heartstrings over the decades and even centuries. They also need to be paid! Composers who create such works should be given some sort of lifelong compensation because they often have very little means in this era. They have to find other means of subsistence and we, as a society, may miss out on profound works because we do not support artists to do their art very well. At least during their lifetimes, original artists should be rewarded for subsequent remixes, in order to support their livelihood. I don't believe all art should be a free for all for anyone to copy.

However, I do recognize the benefit of remixes and that talent is inspired by other talent before them. My favorite example is a passage from Gustav Mahler's Symphony #1. It is a version of "Are you Sleeping, Brother John?" which was a French folk song. Mahler remixed to create a minor version which made it sound quite sad and turned it into a funeral march. He often wrote about the death of children since several of his siblings died in childhood along with his own children. The passage shows exquisite, tragic beauty. It would be a huge loss to our musical heritage if he had not remixed this old folk song.

I enjoyed our challenge this time. Amy Lund was generous enough to allow me to use her photographs to remix a part of her life. Since she seems to celebrate life with friends, traveling and with adult beverages as many (most?) of us do, I decided to remix her life as a winery owner and distributor. Because she always has a laid back, smiling group of friends around her in pictures, I decided that her winery was homey and friendly, not elitist in anyway, and had a sense of humor. Amy Lund Winery would include a postcard in every wine delivery that showed this playful aspect of her company.

I presented this in my previous blog post "There's Something about Amy." I also attributed the photos to her as her original work.

Since I did not participate in a dialog this time, I was able to spend more time perusing my classmates' entries. I was impressed with Jessica Arment's brave rendition "I'm messy and I know it" which showed Laura Terry's messy children montage in a remix of "I'm sexy and I know it." She rewrote the lyrics and actually sang/rapped the tune. It was quite creative.

I also appreciate Paul Zastrocky for turning us on to the Ted talk by Zeynep Tufekci talking about the dystopia we are inadvertently building by using algorithms in social media.

Here are some of my daily creates from the past 2 weeks:

Warhol was the king of remixing art.

I remixed an old bible phrase "let there be light" on my homemade matchbox design.

Here's a remix of a box design!

Thank you for allowing me to take a week off of dialogues so that I could learn more about my classmates.

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